Afghanistan: Taliban rejects ceasefire extension offer | News | DW | 17.06.2018
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Afghanistan: Taliban rejects ceasefire extension offer

Taliban and Afghan government fighters have observed a three-day truce that coincided with Eid. But two bombings on Saturday and Sunday left a total of at least 55 people dead, and more than 100 injured.

The Taliban on Sunday rejected an offer from the Afghan government to extend a three-day ceasefire as the country reeled from two deadly suicide attacks in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced an extension of the government's own ceasefire, which was due to expire on Wednesday, in the hopes that the Taliban would follow suit. The presidential office later confirmed it would be extended by 10 days.

But the Islamist group said its own three-day ceasefire would end at midnight on Sunday evening as planned. "All Mujahidin [Taliban] should continue their operations against foreign invaders and their puppets," Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

Read more: Who is Taliban leader Mullah Fazlullah?

Deadly bombings

The Taliban had agreed to the temporary ceasefire to allow its fighters to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday. But festivities were interrupted by two bomb attacks in Jalalabad.

A suicide bombing near the governor's building on Sunday killed at least 18 and wounded more than 40. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

On Saturday, an "Islamic State" (IS) car bomb killed at least 36 people and wounded 65 at a gathering of Taliban and government fighters. IS did not observe the ceasefire and has clashed with the Taliban and the government security forces in the past.

Read more: Former Afghan president hopeful for 'permanent peace' with Taliban

No end in sight

The mutual ceasefire was the first cessation of hostilities between the government and the Taliban since a 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan ousted the Taliban from power.

Since then, Taliban fighters have fought the NATO-backed government in Kabul to try and reinstall a regime based on sharia, or Islamic law. They have recaptured large parts of the country following large withdrawals of foreign troops in recent years.

amp/rc (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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